Sports movies can be a challenge to make.
The main hurdle for filmmakers is trying to deliver a movie solid enough to satisfy die hard fans while simultaneously supplying enough overall entertainment value throughout it to rein in non-sports lovers.
Though classic flicks like Rocky and Hoosiers do jump that hurdle, the majority of sports movies fall flat on their faces. Here are my Top 10 black sports movies of all time, in which all offer enjoyable and complete black viewing experiences or perspectives for not only sports junkies but for all moviegoers.
Please read, enjoy and include your favorite all-time black sports movie in the comments.
10). Pride (2007).
Based on a true story, Terrence Howard stars as Jim Ellis, a schoolteacher who gallantly begins a swimming team for local black youths in 1973 at a Philadelphia rec center. The flick drags slightly, but overall achieves its goal of presenting the struggles and strife the swimmers had to endure at the time.
9). Ali (2001).
Will Smith shines in this biopic about boxing icon Muhammad Ali. Smith packs on pounds and uses his gift of gab to depict the passionate early boxing days (1964-1974) of “The Greatest.” The splendid cast includes Mario Van Peebles as Malcolm X and Jamie Foxx as Ali’s loyal cornerman Drew Bundini Brown.
8). Above The Rim (1994).
Starring Duane Martin, Leon Robinson and the late Tupac Shakur, this 1990s flick features gripping basketball action and a banging soundtrack to match it. Pac shows his natural appeal for the camera, portraying a drug lord who tries to recruit Martin, a promising young player, for his street ball gang.
7). He Got Game (1998).
An avid hoops fan, famed director Spike Lee puts his love for the game on the line in this classic sports movie. NBA all-star Ray Allen delivers in his first film as high school phenom Jesus Shuttlesworth, and all-star actor Denzel Washington punctuates Lee’s project by playing Jesus’s desperate father, Jake.
6). The Express (2008).
This powerful sports movie is based on the life and tragic death of college football superstar Ernie Davis, a two-time All-American and the first black player to capture the Heisman. Rob Brown carries the bulk of the load in this heartfelt film by portraying Davis, who died of leukemia in 1963 at the age of 23.
5). Love & Basketball (2000).
Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps connect in this sports movie and bring writer and director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s wonderful love script to life. Lathan and Epps play Monica and Quincy, childhood friends and eventual pro ballers, who despite their trials and tribulations in the film fall in love and get hitched.
4). The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars & Motor Kings (1976).
This wouldn’t be a legit Top 10 list without this classic sports film. Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones and Richard Pryor form their own Big 3 and star in this baseball comedy about fed-up ex-Negro League players who have a ball touring Midwest towns and competing against locals for dough in the 1930s.
3). Remember The Titans (2000).
Denzel Washington plays head coach Herman Boone and is the right dude in charge at a Virginia high school football team its first year after desegregation. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the football scenes of course pop. The film also opens the door for Wood Harris, who is team captain Julius Campbell.
2.) Hoop Dreams (1994).
This 170-minute documentary covers the ambitious journey from high school to the pros of two gifted black ballers from Chicago. The duo, William Gates and Arthur Agee, fall short of their pro dreams, but they and Steve James’s film win by showing viewers societal issues that are a lot bigger than basketball.
1). Brian’s Song (1971).
They say there’s no crying in football, however, for some it was hard not to after watching this unforgettable film. Billy Dee Williams is NFL star Gayle Sayers in this tear-jerking story about Sayles’s relationship with teammate Brian Piccolo, played by James Caan, who’s stricken with terminal cancer.
Besides writing for the Urban Daily, Dwayne C. Nelson is also a featured arts and entertainment and sports contributor for Associated Content from Yahoo! Click here to check out some of his other online stories.